Cabs are the best way to get around the Amman, especially if you’re not as familiar with the bus routes or schedules. Relative to prices back in Boston, cabs here are an absolute steal. I could get from one corner of the city to the opposite one for something like $4.50JOD which is about $6.35USD. At home, I think I could get from my driveway to the next driveway for $6.35. On a GOOD day. Nevertheless, here are some *major keys* for getting cabs like a true Jordanian:
- Patience is key. Waiting for cabs can take anywhere between 15 seconds and 15 minutes. Don’t be discouraged if it seems like a bunch of empty cabs are driving on by: sometimes cabbies are just done for the day and going home. You could also download Careem. It’s more expensive but useful for when you’re trying to navigate at an odd hour.
- The word “aadad” is key. It means meter and it’s a good word to know. Look for the meter as you get in the taxi. Drivers sometime try to be slick and tuck it between the chairs where you can’t see it and tell you the final reading is more than it really is. If he doesn’t turn the meter on or he tells you it doesn’t work, feel free to get out. Cabs are a dime a dozen, trust.
- Speaking of trust, trust is key. You may get into cabs where your driver is texting his habib, changing the radio station, rolling down his window, driving stick, and still somehow doing 80 and weaving in and out of pedestrians and other vehicles. These guys are pros. Their cars are their income so they wouldn’t do anything to put their vehicles (or their passengers) in danger.
- Planning your travel outside of rush hour is key. You’re gonna be overcharged during rush hour. Most of the time, it’s not worth the hour+ wait for it to clear up and for cabs to start using the meter again. if you’re broke like me, you’d learn that 9km is a stone’s throw…walk it. (Just kidding, you just have to accept it.) Secondly, Amman traffic is on its own level. If you can avoid the “zahme,” please do. If you can’t, yikes.
This is Part III in my series about thriving in Jordan. Check out my other posts as well!
- Don’t fill up on bread. Drink and appetizers will be out momentarily. This is a pretty standard rule for any country, honestly.
- Don’t fill up on appetizers, even if they look like a full meal. Look around, if you’re the only person going to town on the baba ghanoush and mutabbal, I think it’s safe to say there’s more food coming out.
- Don’t fill up on the entree, because dessert and tea are a must.
- Desserts are sweet. Sweeter than sweet. So sweet, that you can probably skimp out on the sugar in your tea. I promise you won’t need it.
- Try everything, especially if you don’t know what it is.
- Related to that: Learn how to say, “I’m allergic to soy and pistachios” before you chow down. Eating in Jordan is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable event, not a hospital trip.
- If you don’t know how to pour tea without is spilling everywhere, enlist help, I implore you. Don’t be that guy.
- Feel free to just c h i l l. There’s no need to rush through your meal. Chat with your pals and enjoy being there. Get arguileh if you’re into that.
- The garcon will be by with the check. They understand that that is part of their job. There is genuinely no need to yell, “THE CHECK? THE CHECK PLEASE. GARCON, THE CHECK” over and over again.*
*This may or may not be from personal experience.
So we’re on a red-eye bus to New York. It’s 4 AM we’ve been on the road for 3 hours, everyone’s asleep at this point. I’m.. a college kid so I’ve learned to survive on 30 minutes a week so I’m just sitting on the bus THRIVING.
Anyway my sister decides to stir in her sleep and I’m like “OK the ride is getting a lil bumpy now anyway, I feel her,” so I’m not paying attention. But out of nowhere she decides that 4 in the morning on a d e a d s i l e n t bus is the perfect time to go fishing for dreg fries at the bottom of her McDonald’s bag.
So it’s straight up like, CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE for like an entire minute and a half. And we’re in the middle of the bus so we’re battling perfect acoustics and equal reach to every single individual, it was awful.
And my sister straight up didn’t see what was wrong!! I’m glaring at her (mainly for my sake… I needed the people around us to know I had nothing to do with this) but to no avail. CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE.
The one saving grace was that she couldn’t find any more fries so she gave up her quest and the bus ride remained peaceful for the final 45 minutes.
Until we rear-ended a cop, but that’s another story.
the next bus doesn’t
come for another half hour.
i’d be late to work
all i have to do
is strategize a pathway
and try not to die
i see the bus. it’s
coming around the corner.
it’s now or never
i shouldn’t have left the house
life: 1. me: 0.